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Links 2/11/2012: Fedora Delays, LibreOffice 3.6.3, OpenBSD 5.2

Posted in News Roundup at 6:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source


  • 4 millions Windows 8 upgrades, that’s not much!
  • Microsoft’s New Cloud and Mobile Approach Uses Same Old Lock-in Strategy
  • Think cloud computing saved you from Sandy? Think again.

    It makes little sense for any Internet business to be dependent on a single data center. With server virtualization it is possible to put images of your server here and there to cover almost any failover problem. Not just multiple servers but multiple servers on multiple backbones in multiple cities supported by multiple power companies and backed by multiple generators. We do that even here at I, Cringely and we’re known to be idiots.

  • Abacus adds up to number joy in Japan
  • FTC Declares Rachel From Cardholder Services ‘Enemy Number 1′; Files Complaints Against Five Scammy Robocollers
  • Health/Nutrition

    • OPINION: Who wins with Medicare Advantage?

      The big five health insurance companies have begun reporting their third quarter 2012 earnings and so far, they are pleasing their shareholders with profits that are better than Wall Street expected, in large part because they are doing especially well in one key area: Medicare.


      A Romney-Ryan victory likely would be the equivalent of winning the lottery for the big institutional investors that own the majority of health insurance company stock. Citigroup analyst Carl McDonald predicts that should Romney win and the GOP take the Senate, the value of health insurers’ shares would rise 10 to 20 percent.

    • Is the Junk Food Industry Buying the WHO?

      The US Food and Drug Administration is notorious for bowing to food-industry interests at the expense of public health. Consider the case of trans fats—whose damaging effects the FDA ignored for decades under industry pressure before finally taking action in 2006, a story I told here. Then there’s the barrage of added sweeteners that have entered the US diet over the last two decades, while the FDA whistled. This week, Cristin Kearns Couzens and Gary Taubes, who has been writing hard-hitting pieces on the dangers of excess sweetener consumption for a while, have a blockbuster Mother Jones story documenting how the FDA rolled over for the food industry on added sweeteners.

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Why are there no famous financial whistleblowers in this crisis?

      This column discusses one of the more subtle issues raised by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) civil fraud action against Bank of America (B of A). The issue was so subtle that of the three articles about the lawsuit that I choose to review the night after the suit was filed, only the NYT article mentioned one of the most important aspects of the suit – the key role that the whistleblower played in making the action possible. The AP and the WSJ articles ignored the fact.

      The lawsuit threatens to impose steep fines on the bank. The Justice Department filed the case under the False Claims Act, which could provide for triple the damages suffered by Fannie and Freddie, a penalty that could reach more than $3 billion.

      The act also provides an avenue for a Countrywide whistle-blower, Edward J. O’Donnell, to cash in. Under the act, the government can piggyback on accusations he filed in a lawsuit that was kept under seal until now.

      Mr. O’Donnell, who lives in Pennsylvania, was an executive vice president for Countrywide before leaving the company in 2009. The government’s case in part hinges on the credibility of his claims.

    • Sharp admits ‘material doubt’ on survival
    • Welfare cuts will lead to shortfall in affordable homes

      Decrease in government spending set to leave low income families with a stark choice: buy less food or move out

    • Barclays faces record £290m penalty
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Getting the facts straight in the parental controls debate

      It’s useful to note that Westminster Hall debates aren’t particularly formal interventions or statements of the Government’s policy. They are secured by MPs who want to discuss something important to them, and can indicate MPs feelings and signal to the Government what Parliamenarians’ priorities might be.

      But even though it’s just a Westminster Hall debate, it seemed important to note that I spotted Claire Perry MP citing a statistic that I haven’t seen before, and which got my spidey senses tingling. She suggests that the number of parents installing network filters at home has dropped ten percent over the past three years, standing now at 39%.

    • Syria Using US Gear to Block Web

      A U.S. company that makes Internet-blocking gear acknowledges that Syria has been using at least 13 of its devices to censor Web activity there—an admission that comes as the Syrian government cracks down on its citizens and silences their online activities.

    • Journalist Attempts To Silence Criticism Of Her Ethics By Brandishing The Club Of UK Defamation Laws

      Defamation is only supposed to apply to cases where there’s a factually false statement made about someone. It shouldn’t apply to cases where the facts are accurate, or the statements are opinions. But while the US’s defamation laws generally deal pretty well with this, it’s not as clear elsewhere. The UK, unfortunately, is somewhat famous for its bad defamation laws, where the burden is generally on the accused to prove they didn’t defame someone — which can be an expensive process. Over the past week or so, video gaming journalists and industry watchers have been dealing with a bit of controversy. Eurogamer columnist Rab Florence wrote a column questioning the close relationship between some gaming journalists and the companies they cover, where it sometimes seems like the journalists are pitch people, rather than objective journalists. This is not a new concern, especially in video game journalism, where such accusations tend to show up pretty regularly (sometimes more accurately than others).

    • Lost Humanity 18: A Table of Doritos
  • Privacy

    • The Kremlin’s New Internet Surveillance Plan Goes Live Today
    • CJOnline ordered to release poster’s information

      A Shawnee County District Court judge has ordered The Topeka Capital-Journal to relinquish identifying information of a CJOnline.com commenter claiming to be a juror in a high-profile murder trial.

      District Judge Steven Ebberts on Friday denied the newspaper’s request to quash the district attorney’s subpoena for the information. As a result, CJOnline will have to release the poster’s name, address and Internet Protocol address to the district attorney.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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